The DTV conversion is gaining momentum worldwide, along with e-waste problems and solutions.
We learned that the 11 billion consumer devices attached to our global ICT infrastructure is expanding the Green ICT focus outside of the core. Now, there is growing awareness how device use can impact the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the network and core. Jenna Wortham writes in The New York Times:
ARPANET pioneer Lawrence Roberts notes that "we’re seeing an explosion in...video applications...[but] traditional IP packet routers...treat the video packets as loose data entities when they ought to treat them as flows." He advocates 'flow routing' to improve network routing and to reduce its power consumption, claiming that "in a traditional router the routing and queuing chips consume 80 percent of the power and space".
The search for data about TV stations' energy consumption elicited a comment from an industry colleague that it is "miniscule" compared to that of the station's viewers. How would we go about calculating the impact of a local station audience?
Many reports that are publicized on Vertatique and elsewhere are free, but some are from paid content providers. It becomes difficult to evaluate these when all one has are the publicity assets, which by their nature tend to raise more questions than they answer. A recent prediction on trans-Atlantic bandwidth capacity, picked up by the popular media and amplified in the tweet-o-sphere, provides a case in point.
An article in Broadcast Engineering seems to imply that for most terrestrial broadcasters, their production studios consume more energy than their transmission chains (master control, STL, transmitter, tower, etc.). It would be useful to see the data on this, as this has bigger implications for the media industry than just Green ICT.
European Community Directives are being increasingly used by manufacturers to label their more sustainable products. Here's a quick review of 3 key directives and 5 codes of conduct:
Multichannel News reported that "KNTV in San Jose . . . is powered entirely by wind". This article is widely referenced on the web, including in a Wikipedia citation. I was curious about this statement, knowing that the transmission operation alone for a terrestrial television broadcaster typically draws tens of kilowatts of power on a 24/7 basis.
The transition to digital television (DTV) will likely generate hundreds of tons of e-waste in the form of stations' old analog transmission equipment. Disposal of this equipment was never accounted for in industry or government DTV planning. Most of the equipment is towards the end of life-cycle and pending DTV transitions in Mexico and Canada are drying up what remains of the North American resale market.
The European Community has not exempted broadcast from its environmental regulations for electrical and electronic equipment like it has biomedical. Click here to learn about which media product vendors working to comply.